'Tough to accept': Novak Djokovic cops 'selfish' backlash from players

Novak Djokovic (pictured) disappointed after his loss at the US Open.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) has received some backlash form players after his arrival in Australia. (Getty Images)

Tennis stars have started to voice their displeasure over Novak Djokovic's attendance at the Australian Open after the World No.1's visa debacle continues to dominate headlines around the world.

Djokovic won his appeal to have his visa revoked after he was detained at the border upon his arrival in Australia.

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Many players weighed-in on the debacle surrounding Djokovic, with both Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal admitting the spectacle wasn't good for the game.

However, reports have started to emerge of players becoming unsettled over Djokovic's participation since he has arrived at Melbourne Park for training.

Leading tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg took to social media on Tuesday to claim he was told players went silent when the World No.1 entered the gym for the first time.

Now, Portuguese star Joao Sousa has hit out at the Djokovic.

He claimed it is hard for some players to accept that Djokovic is getting exemptions.

"I respect that he fights for what he believes and I can be empathetic with what he is going through in Australia, but it's a bit selfish from him to arrive here as the only player unvaccinated," Sousa is reported to have said.

"It's tough for us players to accept that".

Marton Fucsovics (pictured) reacts during a match at Roland Garros.
Marton Fucsovics (pictured) isn't impressed with Novak Djokovic and his arrival in Australia. (Photo by MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images)

On Tuesday, Spanish star Garbine Muguruza was also blunt on what she thought of the situation.

“It’s a nonsense battle - sooner or later everyone will have to get vaccinated,” she told reporters.

“Yes, I am vaccinated. I know the requirements of the tournament, and I do not see why it is necessary to do it another way.

“What’s happening is a show, and I don’t know if this is good for tennis.”

World No.38 Marton Fucsovics was just as direct when he said Djokovic ha ignored the expectations.

“People’s health is paramount, and there are rules that were outlined months ago - namely that everyone should vaccinate themselves - and Djokovic didn’t,” Fucsovics told Hungarian outlet M4Sport.

“From this point of view, I don’t think he would have the right to be here.”

Novak Djokovic addresses 'misinformation'

Murray was one player to call for more answers surrounding confusion with social media images showing the World No.1 out in public after his lawyers claimed Djokovic tested positive for Covid-19 on December 16th.

And on Wednesday, Djokovic released a bombshell statement and admitted an 'error of judgement' as he attempted to clarify some of the 'misinformation'.

"I want to emphasise that I have tried very hard to ensure the safety of everyone and my compliance with testing obligations. I attended a basketball game in Belgrade on 14 December after which it was reported that a number of people tested positive with Covid-19," he wrote.

"Despite having no Covid symptoms, I took a rapid antigen test on 16 December which was negative and out of an abundance of caution, also took an official and approved PCR test on that same day."

"The next day I attended a tennis event in Belgrade to present awards to children and took a rapid antigen test before going to the event, and it was negative. I was asymptomatic and felt good, and I had not received the notification of a positive PCR test result until after that event.

However he admitted he conducted an interview with French magazine L'Equipe on the 18th after finding out he was positive.

"The next day, on 18 December I was at my tennis centre in Belgrade to fulfil a long-standing commitment for a L’Equipe interview and photoshoot. I cancelled all other events except for the L’Equipe interview," he wrote.

"I felt obliged to go ahead and conduct the L’Equipe interview as I didn’t want to let the journalist down, but did ensure I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was being taken."

Djokovic said attending the interview was a mistake and he should have been at home isolating.

"While I went home after the interview to isolate for the required period, upon reflection, this was an error of judgement and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment," he said.

Immigration Minster Alex Hawke is still weighing up whether or not to use his discretionary powers to deport Djokovic, the World No.1 issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

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